Outreach ~ Advent Adventure

Sunday, November 29, 9:45–10:45 AM

Location: The Commons

Come and join us for decorating small Christmas trees for the homebound! Bring your own decorations, or use the craft supplies provided. There will be seasonal music, treats, and fellowship for all ages.

*There will not be traditional Sunday School on November 29! Please do not drop off your children, as this family event takes the place of Sunday School.

November 22 Hymn Festival

Through the Church the Song Goes On… A Hymn Festival with Readings, Choir, and Instruments!

Sunday, November 22, 10:00 AM

Mark your calendars now for a morning of celebrating our heritage of faith through communal song! Our songs will be enhanced by choirs, organ and instruments – a wonderful cacophony of sound raised to God’s glory!

Hearth and Home

HEARTH AND HOME

Let us build a house where love can dwell and all can safely live,

a place where saints and children tell how hearts learn to forgive.

Built of hopes and dreams and visions, rock of faith and vault of grace;

here the love of Christ shall end divisions;

All are welcome, all are welcome,

All are welcome in this place.1

The council and representatives from the transition team had a wonderful retreat at the end of August.  For one activity we broke into three groups.  Each group chose a biblical story it felt Holy Trinity Lutheran Church was living and paired it with a hymn.

One group felt the story of Jesus blessing the children (Mark 10:13-16) best exemplified our community and chose Marty Haugen’s hymn, All Are Welcome as our theme song.  Another group selected the hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, and referenced Ephesians 6:10-18 in which Paul encourages Christians to put on the whole armor of God.  The final group said the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) described our community of faith.

There is a common thread.  A Mighty Fortress is our God describes a safe haven, a God who will protect and defend us.  The story of Jesus blessing the children is about welcome and finding a home in the arms of Jesus.  And, the story of the Prodigal Son is a story about coming home to the welcoming and forgiving Father.  All of these stories describe home in some way.

The consistency is fascinating.  One of the findings of the CAT survey is that Holy Trinity is a Hearth and Home congregation.  As a community of faith, we “value structure and stability” and serve “as guardians of honored traditions of the church, as a shelter from the frenetic pace of change in the world.”  We offer a place for people “to come home to”.  This can be a gift to many in our northern Virginia mission context where many are transient.  This is a faith community that has “the expectations and rewards of a family.” These are our strengths.2

Equally striking is that the Bible story illustrating the both the promise and the peril of a Hearth and Home congregation is the story of the Prodigal Son, one of the stories chosen by retreat participants.  The promise, of course, is that like the forgiving and loving father in the story, we will open our arms and our hearts to everyone looking for a home, regardless of their background.   Like the father in the story, we will defy convention to welcome the lost.   We will take whatever risks necessary to share the love of Jesus with the world.

Yet, since Hearth and Home congregations value structure, stability and tradition, the peril is that we can get caught up in judging others and enforcing the rules, much like the elder brother in the story.   We may resist opening our hearts to those who are different, or who bring different gifts to our community, because to do so would mean we would have to change.3

One of the gifts the CAT survey offers is the gift of self-knowledge.  Knowing our strengths and our weaknesses allows us to choose more wisely.   When confronted with a decision we may want to ask ourselves, are we behaving like the loving father?   Or like the elder brother?   Such self-knowledge may help us discern what kind of a home, what kind of a community, God is urging us to become.

Let us build a house where all are named, their songs and visions heard

and loved and treasured, taught and claimed as words within the Word.

Built of tears and cries and laughter, prayer of faith and songs of grace,

let this house proclaim from floor to rafter:

All are welcome, all are welcome,

All are welcome in this place.4

 

Pastor Margrethe

1Marty Haugen, All Are Welcome. Text and music © 1994 GIA Publications, Inc., 7404 S. Mason Ave., Chicago, IL 60638. www.giamusic.com. 800.442.3358. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

2Russell Crabtree, Owl Sight, Magi Press; 1st edition (2012)

3Ibid.

4Marty Haugen, All Are Welcome, op. cit.

All Saints Day

All Saints Sunday, November 1, 2015

The first Sunday of November is celebrated throughout the church as All Saints Sunday.   At Holy Trinity, we commemorate members who have died in the last 12 months as well as close relatives and friends of HTLC members.

If there has been a death in your family that you wish to observe on All Saints’ Day, Please provide the following information to the church office by Thursday, October 29, 2015.

Full name of deceased:

Your name:

Deceased relationship to you (ie.. sister, aunt, parent:)

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Starting Sunday, October 25th, Christmas Stocking kits will be available. The kits are brown bags that contain a Christmas stocking, a list of gift ideas, and directions for filling and returning the stocking to church by Sunday, November 8th. The recipients of the stockings are children from ages 2-12. The Loudoun County Holiday Coalition will distribute the stockings in early December. Unwrapped gifts for infants, teens, seniors, and persons with disabilities are also welcome.

This is Holy Trinity’s tenth year participating in this community outreach program. We hope to exceed 1000 stockings for our total number of stockings donated by Holy Trinity and Little Blessings Preschool since 2006!

If you would prefer, a basket will be available for goodwill donations – we will fill the stocking for you!

Reformation Sunday Review

We Celebrated Reformation Sunday, October 25

Glorious music was provided by our  ‘B’Orchestra’—Band/Orchestra, including musicians from Holy Trinity and some community friends.

The Combined Men’s and Chancel Choir provided a beautiful rendition of  “Built on a Rock.”

A huge thank you to Nancy Fox, Marcia Merry, and all of the musicians for making our Reformation Sunday a musical celebration!

The Stewardship Question is…

The Stewardship Question is…

Many, many thanks!  You have been incredibly generous this year.  Your offerings, including your response to our summer appeal and your gifts for our fiftieth anniversary, sustain the vital and life-giving ministries of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. 

145 children deepened their faith in Jesus through our Camp Discovery Vacation Bible School. 

Eight of our high school youth felt the Spirit moving at the ELCA Youth Gathering in Detroit. 

We were able to celebrate our fiftieth anniversary in air-conditioned comfort and host a sumptuous lunch! 

The list could go on and on!  Because of you, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church has been able to carry out the ministries to which Christ has called us in 2015.  It is an honor and a privilege to serve such a faithful and generous congregation!

As we look forward to our life together in 2016, I commend the insights of poet Ann Weems on stewardship.  She reframes the stewardship question in a way I find provocative.

PRAYER OF STEWARDSHIP

O Lord, forgive our fears

that so stifle our stewardship .

Forgive our giving in and our giving up

instead of giving ourselves

to Christ’s mission of love.

Remind us that our hope

is in standing up and risking,

in taking our stewardship seriously.

Help us to remember, O Lord, that

the stewardship question is not really,

How much we will give?

The stewardship question is,

How will we spend what we have been given?

We pray that it will be faithfully

and cheerfully.

From Seaching for Shalom. © 1991 Ann Barr Weems.  Used by permission of Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved.

As Commitment Sunday, October 11th, approaches, I ask you to consider your personal spending plan for 2016.  How will you spend what God has given you? 

How will you spend on the health and well being of your family?  How will you set aside funds for the future, for retirement or for that rainy day?  How will you pay down any debts you may have incurred?  And how will you spend on the kingdom of God, supporting Christ’s mission of love through Holy Trinity Lutheran Church?

Many people find making a pledge to the church (an annual financial commitment) to be helpful as they develop their budgets.  However, if pledging is not a useful or comfortable tool for you, I encourage you to sit down and write out your own plan for faithful and cheerful spending in 2016.  Check back with your plan in six months.  Are you on track?  Are you spending what God has given you in a faithful and cheerful manner?

May we all be faithful and cheerful spenders!

Pastor Margrethe

Mobile Hope

SEPTEMBER 20, Come, Listen, and Act–Mobile Hope Presentation — Next Sunday, during the Sunday School hour, please join the Middle School and High School classes in the old fellowship hall for a presentation by Mobile Hope, a local organization devoted to providing services to at-risk, precariously housed, and homeless youth in Loudoun County. We’ll learn how we as a congregation can, through our stewardship of the Lord’s gifts, lend support to this worthwhile work. If you can’t attend the presentation, please look for more information on the Mobile Hope website at http://www.mobilehopeloudoun.org/.